Designing Intranet Portals that Work!

You have been tasked with building or perhaps improving the Intranet for your company. Where do you start? At its core, an Intranet can be described as a website designed to manage company information and retain knowledge. Unlike your website, "build it and they will come" does not always hold true. Since Intranet Portals are highly complex entities that affect how your organization operates, communicates and shares information, their success ultimately depends on how you define the strategy.

If the focus is strictly employee based, then the features and functionality will obviously be different than if it has to include external stakeholders such as partners and customers. Understanding your audience and their unique requirements is a key attribute and should be considered first. There is no one response as to which features are optional or mandatory when considering an Intranet design. Strategizing with your team before you design and deploy will ensure success for your project and avoid headaches later. The list below outlines some key success factors that should be considered when establishing an Intranet strategy.

Usability
Navigation must be user centric, with a consistent interface, which flows from the home page in an intuitive way to other sections of the site. Features should include navigation naming that makes sense and resonates with your company culture.

Technology
The Intranet needs to be hosted on a system that is appropriate for your IT infrastructure. From a user and maintenance perspective, the interface must be easy to understand and require minimal training. CMS or Content Management Systems come in all shapes and sizes. It is important that you consider the technology options that fit best for your requirements and budget!